HISD trustee distributes anti-gay flier

Rodriquez Flier (excerpt)

Excerpt from the Rodriquez flier attacking Fonseco for his advocacy for LGBT people and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus (click to view full flier)

Houston Independent School District Trustee Manuel Rodriquez Jr. is under fire for an anti-gay flyer attacking his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca. Both seek the HISD District III seat held by Rodriquez. Rodriquez’s flyer attacks Fonseca for his history of advocating for LGBT people, and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The flyer also suggests that Fonseca being 52 and unmarried is a reason that Houstonians should not trust him to make decisions affecting children, and points out that he has a “male partner.”

The GLBT Political Caucus was quick to denounce the flyer, issuing a statement on Saturday. “Manuel Rodriguez is assuming the voters of District III share the same bigoted, hateful views he holds,” said Caucus president Noel Freeman. “Houstonians have proven time and time again that such views are not welcome in our City, and have consistently rejected candidates who espouse such hateful views. We urge the voters of District III to reject Manuel Rodriguez on election day.”

Other HISD Trustees have joined in the chorus of people speaking out against the mailer. “I denounce the reprehensible, mean-spirited, bigoted mailer that was sent out in the HISD, District III race,” Trustee Juliet Katherine Stipeche said via her Facebook wall. “I ask my colleagues to maintain and uphold HISD’s total non-discrimination policy and treat every person, including other candidates, with dignity and respect. Let us embrace diversity and equality and treat every person as we would like ourselves to be treated ” Stipeche is seeking re-election to her district VIII seat.

HISD District I member Anna Eastman echoed Stipeche’s comments. “My fifteen year old son could not comprehend why someone would think that distinction would change a vote for school board and would be used as such by a candidate.”

The GLBT caucus is urging people to contact the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle to encourage them to rescind their endorsement of Rodriquez in light of his campaign tactics.

HISD elections are part of the general elections taking place this Tuesday, Nov 8. Visit HarrisVotes.org to find your voting location and view a sample ballot.

—  admin

Final bets at the finale of Team DV’s P-P-P-Poker Tourney

Ante up to the table

Team Dallas Voice and Pocket Rockets Dallas are raising money for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS by holding a P-P-P-Poker Tournament at clubs across town. After three weeks, the event has come to the grand prize final.

Because this is Dallas, not Vegas, the game play is free, so if you want to contribute to the LSR cause, bring cash to enter the raffle. Among the prizes available or that have been won are tickets to see Dolly Parton (we’ll resist the urge to call this one a “booby prize”), Ke$ha and Chelsea Handler,  tickets to the Texas Rangers and Lone Star Park horse races, Starbucks coffee, a set of poker chips, books, grooming supplies and much more … and the final grand prize: Two tickets on American Airlines anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

DEETS: Check out the Facebook event page here for details.

—  Rich Lopez

Call Your Senators to Urge DADT Action

CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW
Dial (202) 224-3121
Tell them to do everything they can to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year.

The time is now.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may be in its final moments. Years of work could boil down to what happens in the coming weeks. The Senate’s “lame duck” session began this week – our last, best hope to end the discrimination this year.

We here at HRC are putting all of our efforts into what could be the final push for repeal; This week we placed ads in major newspapers in key states asking everyone to call their senator and sound off on passing repeal this year; Yesterday we sent an action alert to our membership letting them know how important it is to contact senators this week, and organizers are deployed across the country rallying support to let the Senate know that the Americans want the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law repealed.

We can’t do it by ourselves. We need every one of you to pick up the phone and call your senators’ offices today. Call your senators and let them know to pass the National Defense Authorization Act  with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” attached. In addition to repeal, this bill contains funding for equipment that our troops need and benefits that service members and veterans deserve.

Senators need to be pushed by their constituents now, because there is little time to be wasted. With just a few weeks left on Congress’ calendar, every seconds that we delay is a moment lost. Dial (202) 224-3121 to call the congressional switch board. Tell them where you are from and ask them to connect you to the office of your senator.

You shouldn’t stop there. Tell your parents, your siblings, your friends and your coworkers; Let Facebook know, let Twitter know. We need all hands on deck. Every call that you make could push us closer to making repeal a reality.

Obstructionists like Senator John McCain want to do everything they can to run out the clock until the next Congress, when even fewer pro-equality lawmakers are around to cast their vote. We have got to do everything that we can to make sure that he is not successful.

Together we push senators to strengthen our military, while honoring the service and sacrifice of all of our service members. Call now.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

GOProud And Tea Party Urge Republicans To Avoid Social Issues

Politico has learned that GOProud has joined forces with the Tea Party and written a letter addressed to both current House Minority Leader John Boehner, who is expected to be the next House Speaker, and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell asking for Republicans to avoid focusing on social agendas.

The gay conservative group's Executive Director as well as its Chairman of the Board, Christopher Barron, have both signed the letter along with openly lesbian talk show host Tammy Bruce and several group leaders of the national Tea Party movement.

The letter, which will be officially released tomorrow, reads in part:

Christopher The Tea Party movement is a non-partisan movement, focused on issues of economic freedom and limited government, and a movement that will be as vigilant with a Republican-controlled Congress as we were with a Democratic-controlled Congress.

This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue, nor should it be interpreted as a political blank check.

Already, there are Washington insiders and special interest groups that hope to co-opt the Tea Party’s message and use it to push their own agenda – particularly as it relates to social issues. We are disappointed but not surprised by this development. We recognize the importance of values but believe strongly that those values should be taught by families and our houses of worship and not legislated from Washington, DC.

Politico delves into the marriage of GOProud and the Tea Party:

The alliance underscores many of the tensions and divisions in the freewheeling, leaderless tea party movement. While GOProud is ambivalent on the issue of same-sex marriage, it does openly advocate the repeal of the military's"Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy – something some of the letter's tea party signatories disagreed strongly with.

Tea Party Patriots Maine coordinator Andrew Ian Dodge said that pushing DADT repeal would be a distraction from fiscal issues like deregulation and lowering taxes and he hopes that the letter also reminds GOProud of this fact. "It is a little bit of a distraction," said Dodge about the possible repeal of DADT. "Why divide our forces?"

Ultimately, the tea party forces sympathetic to the GOProud letter said they just want to focus on fiscal issues, even if they personally hold socially conservative views.

Barron hopes to have more Tea Party signatures after the letter's official unveiling in the morning.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

LSR Journal: Because I learned what’s important

Eddie Munoz  Team Dallas Voice

Eddie Munoz
Eddie Munoz

This year marks the first year I’m officially involved with the Lone Star Ride.

I’ll be honest: Initially, I wanted a reason to be obliged to stay fit during the dog days of summer, not to mention getting to wear the shiny, sexy 88 percent polyester/12 percent spandex cycling gear. I mean seriously, who doesn’t look good in that?

Although my reason for participating began as a selfish ploy to achieve somewhat of an Adonis status, the reality of the event’s purpose has undoubtedly taken over — and I’m glad it has.

I first heard of Lone Star Ride while working for the Dallas Voice in Web development during my college days. As part of my duty, I would upload the weekly newspaper to the website, reading the stories as it pertained to our community’s struggle in the area, state, country and world. One of the things I remember was preparing for the Lone Star Ride articles and thought, “Oh here’s just another fundraiser.”

Back then I was a different person than I am today. As a younger person, I didn’t see the need to get involved, nor did I feel that I, as an individual, could make a difference.

It wasn’t until I graduated from college and met someone whose whole life pertained to getting involved in our community and I was inspired. He was making a difference, “saving the gays” as he sometimes would say. He definitely made a difference in me whether he knows it or not.

I’m happy to say that now I wake up next to him everyday.

In March, Robert Moore and I talked about the Lone Star Ride, and for some reason, I had a strong urge to know more about the ride and to get involved.

So a couple of months ago I picked up a bike from the Lone Star locker and began to train. Let me tell you though, it has not been easy to train for the 75 miles I hope to accomplish in September.

My very first training ride consisted of 23 miles and I said to myself, “Oh Lord! What did you get yourself into?” No amount of Gatorade could’ve quenched my thirst that day.

For someone who grew up with asthma and who, shamefully but admittedly, barely learned how to ride a bike five years ago, it has been a challenge. I’ve had a couple falls here and there, bruises, injuries, blood, sweat and tears. But with every fall I have, I commit myself to riding even more.

Cycling has become my therapy, a healthy escape from the weekly workload, the bars and the drama that it sometimes entails.

It’s also a game of mind versus body — “just one more mile … one more … one more,” I tell myself.

When I ride I focus on the people that the event benefits, and I can also focus on myself and my life. Whether I’m riding with my team, my partner or by myself, it is always an enjoyable experience for me.

I may not know the people that the event benefits, but I know that it will make a difference, that I will finally make a difference. I’ve learned to participate in life and help those in need, those who want another day in this world, who want to know they’re still appreciated and not forgotten.

AIDS may be incurable, but our apathy and inability to help has a cure. It only takes a minute, the click of a mouse, to donate online and change someone’s life.

So as I prepare to hit the pavement in September in my 88 percent polyester/12 percent spandex cycling shorts, I look forward to hearing from the organizations and the people that your contributions go towards.

And I hope to return next year and do it all over again with a bigger fundraising goal and more support.

To donate to Eddie Munoz or any other Lone Star Ride rider, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Barry Winchell’s parents write: End DADT and urge Senators ‘be on the right side of history’

Very powerful op-ed today from Pat and Wally Kutelles, the parents of Barry Winchell:

The coffee was brewing and we were just starting our day when the telephone rang the morning of July 5, 1999. It was a call that every parent prays never will come.

The Army colonel was calling from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where our son was based in the U.S. Army. A fellow soldier had attacked our son, Barry Winchell. He had been taken to a civilian hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

We raced to the Kansas City airport. When we arrived at the hospital, Barry was clinging to life. His face was unrecognizable. Contrary to what the colonel had said on the telephone, Barry had not been kicked in the head by the other soldier. He had been beaten with a baseball bat as he slept in the barracks. The doctor said he had irreparable brain damage and recovery was unlikely.

Barry had been a victim of constant, vicious harassment after another soldier — one of two involved in his murder — started a rumor that he was gay.

Several of Barry’s superiors were witnesses to the harassment, yet did nothing about it. Some of those superiors not only did nothing to stop the escalation of violence that would lead to our son’s death, they also took part in the harassment.

Barry’s parents have been stalwart allies in the campaign to end DADT. We’re at a pivotal point in the debate. So, they’ve spoken out again:

The attitude of society toward gays serving in the military has changed in the 17 years since DADT went into effect. It’s no longer the divisive issue it used to be. When we go to Capitol Hill, we talk about the change we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes on LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered — issues. It’s clear to us that the younger generation of service members couldn’t care less about sexual orientation. But they couldn’t care more about integrity and honesty, serving one’s country and being supportive of their comrades.

Our work to repeal the law that contributed to our son’s death has given us focus. We look forward to the day when this law is repealed and when the armed forces adopt a policy that demonstrates clearly that all service members, including those who are gay or lesbian, are worthy of serving our country with dignity and integrity.

Only then can our sons and daughters feel safe in reporting harassment. Only then will their superiors, up the chain of command, be held fully responsible for protecting our sons and daughters equally, no matter what their sexual orientation.

Soon, members of the U.S. Senate will have an opportunity to ensure that Barry’s death was not in vain, that no other young man or woman will be denied the chance to serve the country they love simply because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen has said it is the right thing to do. We urge senators to stand with Admiral Mullen and be on the right side of history.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Watch: Matt Morris Calls on Fans to Urge Best Buy to Stop Donating to Anti-Gay PAC ‘MN Forward’

Matt_morris

After learning about Best Buy and Target's contributions to anti-gay PAC MN Forward, singer/songwriter Matt Morris amended a YouTube video he posted over the weekend in which he expressed excitement that Best Buy was promoting copies of his latest CD on TVs throughout the store.

In the new video, Morris urges fans to print out a copy of the open letter from HRC urging Best Buy and Target to "make it right" with regard to the MN Forward donations, and take the letter to their local Best Buy.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright